How Not To Play The Game, or, I WIN I WIN NA NA NA BOO BOO

by childofwine

Today I didn’t make it up for a mask turn in the afternoon. Second day in a row. I am not pleased with myself but I know that it was because I was trying to plan and control the situation. Because I didn’t just get excited about getting another chance to go. Because I forgot that I have already, just three days in experienced some real soul crushing failure and some fantastic grin inducing success.

Tomorrow is another day and this is only week one. So I don’t get up but I listen, I learn.

As I sit and watch the others go, as we present a false politeness jumping up to get a turn, as we denounce each other “no, I do not want her to live another moment”, as our Maitre, the grumpy bonhomme, bangs his drum and giggles as he comes up with yet another incredibly precise and detailed insult based on some dictator or dead pope, I am learning some really truly basic things.

Some really basic primary skills.

So obvious.

Yet don’t we all just sit there nodding fanatically and scribbling away in our notebooks like monkeys.

Here then is my current favourite lesson. (This is not so much a notated quote as it is my idiot drool painfully slow light bulb realisation)

ahem, cough cough, It is not so much about winning as it is about playing a game.

If I knew how to write the sounds of someone dribbling their lips with their fingers I would do so here.

Please. Do this yourself. Put your finger to your lips and dribble.

ahem, cough cough, It is not so much about winning as it is about playing a game.

In the morning when we play games we are bored with the athletes, the serious gamers, the mean gamers, we want to see the fun, we want to see the pleasure. This is so simple yet so hard for us to do sometimes.

We played a game this morning. Two scarves, one hanging out of the back of my pants and one hanging out of the back of his. At the beat of a drum, GO! ATTACK!

… and I have it! Hah!


I actually have his scarf – the drum beat STOP – we stare at each other and slowly I taunt him, I give the scarf a little wiggle, and he’s after me.

Ha hah! Missed, he missed!

Me leaping and spinning, pivoting and teasing and taunting and all the time our eyes sparkling, laughing. And all the time me flabbergasted that I still have his scarf in my hot little hand! He couldn’t get it, not for a long time, each moment I managed to trick him to evade him successfully was a moment of pure exquisite joy. They were laughing, my new friends, watching, so I played it up. He played with me but he couldn’t catch me. No.

What bliss. Pure pleasure.

So in the afternoon. Where does that go? It is no different yet it is a world apart.

One of my housemates today. She says, I don’t get it, I can be really funny in real life. I can tell a really stupid joke and because I think it’s funny, because I believe in it so much they all laughed at me but then I get on stage and… nothing

I learned this last summer and I suppose I am here to learn it again: we are interesting just the way we are. Vomit with me if you want, I am aware of the potential saccharine overdose but the problem is that it is the truth. Painfully so as we are all quickly learning on stage. When we try, when we perform, they hate us, we can feel it. On stage we lie yes but we have to be true.

On stage it is not a competition but a game and games are no fun if everyone has the “eyes of a goldfish that has spent twenty years in a briefcase in Vietnam”.

Basically, what I’m getting at is this: Kate and Clara, I am sorry if I played to win more often than I played for the pleasure of the game with you gals. I didn’t get it BUT you would have been proud of my teasing this morning I couldn’t have evaded him so gracefully without you.